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$245 million for Chaplains

By John Hargreaves - 19 May 2014 46

JohnHargreaves-a

In a Back to the Future Vaticano style, the PM has whispered in a new attempt to force religion into our schools. No-one cares if the private educational systems have chaplains to administer to their flocks. It has been the case since the year dot and will always be the case. But the push into the public school system, rejected the last time it was proposed, is another thing altogether. And if it is at the expense of the school counsellor system then it is a very dangerous thing to embrace.

Chaplains are not counsellors. They are clerics who propound their faiths and counsel along the religious doctrines of those faiths. They find solutions to problems presented to them within their “holy” books. Fine if that’s the way you want your goose cooked but not for me.

Chaplains do a fine job within religious parishes and schools, hospices and the like. But do they replace the qualified and experienced school counsellors? No they don’t.

Are they trained and qualified to speak to students about personal image issues, the challenge of sexual awareness, difficulties with parents or siblings, alcoholism or drug abuse? I think maybe not. The most dangerous thing in the world is guidance delivered by well-meaning amateurs. Let Chaplains do what they do best, interface between the faithful and their deity. Leave social wellness to the experts.

Tony Abbot is pushing his religiosity too far. Some questions for the president of the George Pell fan club. What if a school doesn’t want a chaplain? No money? Will a school be able to have both chaplains and counsellors? Will all faiths be catered for in all schools and how? Where are you going to get Buddhist or Hindu counsellors? Will each school have multiple chaplains catering for a multitude of faiths? Will the federal government dictate which religions can have chaplains operating in the public system and what it is that they provide?

$245 million is a lot of money for a system no one asked for and most people reject. How about Mr Abbott gives this loony idea away and gives the $245 million to assist struggling families suffering from his onslaught onto their basic quality of life?

John Hargreaves
Former ACT Minister and MLA

What’s Your opinion?


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46 Responses to
$245 million for Chaplains
1
Affirmative Action M 5:03 pm
19 May 14
#

I have generally disliked John Hargreaves as he comes across as a bully boy & seems wedded to the quasi Marxist dogma which went out of date in the 60’s however I have to agree with him on this – the whole chaplain exercise was a ridiculous waste of $$. If they want to hand it out let schools (through the parents) decide if they want a counsellor, part time psychologist or chaplain.

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2
ticktock2 5:29 pm
19 May 14
#

I agree that $245m is a waste of my/our hard earned taxpayer money. I protested strongly to the Catholic Church…err sorry Prime Minister and cohorts about spending our money on superstitious nonsense. I don’t expect a reply…in the meantime let’s make it harder for older Australians, indigenous people and our veterans by promoting waffle and waste with a $245m price tag. Religion is a private matter and not the realm of the secular (?) state. But then again, what do you expect from a former Catholic priest and his religious twerps now running the country? Not a whole lot in this case.

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3
Aneillius 5:44 pm
19 May 14
#

I seriously have a problem with paying organized religion to provide chaplains. I’m sure the tax rebates they receive as non profits would amount to we’ll more than $245 million.

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4
Maya123 6:10 pm
19 May 14
#

I have to agree with the comments so far. Chaplains don’t have a place in government schools. The money should be spent on qualified councillors.

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5
Masquara 6:31 pm
19 May 14
#

Very dishonest and disingenuous post. “New” attempt to “force” religion into our schools? Hardly. Labor kept on and on funding the chaplain program. Why ? Purely because there’s a strong Christian lobby, and both sides of parliament are somewhat beholden to it. So, Hargreaves, if it’s a loony idea it’s Labor’s loony idea too.

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6
Az 6:42 pm
19 May 14
#

Chaplains are DANGEROUS.

Letting skydad worshipers advise kids in trouble is a recipe for disaster.

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7
Mysteryman 7:06 pm
19 May 14
#

Hey John, perhaps you could enlighten us on how much the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd governments spent on chaplains during their six years at the top? You’re trying to make this sound like Tony Abbott is doing something new here. He’s not. Chaplaincy programs have been government funded for a LONG time. This isn’t a new program, and it’s not a Liberal initiative. Stop being deceptive.

Secondly, “$245 million is a lot of money for a system no one asked for”. I categorically refute this. There are a lot of public schools that have requested and made very good use of chaplains. Generally speaking, the chaplains are there to offer guidance, basic counseling, dispute resolution, and other similar services. Their services are sought out by teachers/students, and not forced on anybody in the way the rioters above me are trying to insinuate. This is not an issue of the government funding religions. It’s about the government funding schools to pay for a service they utilise and need. Churches are often the only ones willing and able to provide the service, or even have an interest in doing so. And, quite frankly, the remuneration is not great.

Perhaps you ought to familiarise yourself with how the chaplaincy program works before screaming “religion religion!”.

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8
justsomeaussie 7:29 pm
19 May 14
#

Can a question on this please be raised on Q&A tonight? Why is our government sanctioning religious influence in public schools.

Not that long ago the fundamentalists were up in arms as this same program was used by Imams to talk about Islam in schools. It’s either secular, correctly training counsellors or not at all.

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9
thislittlepiggy 8:34 pm
19 May 14
#

What John Hargreaves was alluding to but failed to mention was that under Labor, the schools chaplaincy also included secular chaplains (humanists etc). This provision has been removed by Abbott. I’m not sure John was even aware of this program before this government, I’m not sure many have.

It should also be noted that this program has already been found unconstitutional by the high court, and was recently taken to the high court again. This is the federal government thumbing their noses at the high court.

For more information, I suggest you checkout http://thatsmyphilosophy.wordpress.com/, she’s blogged in detail the changes to the Schools Chaplaincy Program, as well as the high court challenges.

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10
thislittlepiggy 8:38 pm
19 May 14
#

I probably should also list http://highcourtchallenge.com, anybody who cares about this should donate to the challenge, even after it’s over. It shows support for the cause, and besides, even though the first court case was in 2010, Ron still hasn’t been paid costs yet.

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11
Johno 8:42 pm
19 May 14
#

Thanks for the support for the notion of separation of church and state, something Mr Abbott doesn’t support. And thanks to the Liberal apologists for outing themselves.

I have served on two public school boards,was educated in the main by the Marist Brothers. I reckon I am a bit more qualified to seek a reversal of this propaganda from that right wing Catholic zealot who wants to take away our choice for education for our kids.

This is the first real indication that he has an agenda for schooling. I wondered why he wanted to emasculate public schooling by killing Gonski. Now I know.

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12
Affirmative Action M 10:36 am
20 May 14
#

You can see why most people have contempt for politicians. Johno how about you answer the question that has been put by several posters as to why the Rudd & Gillard Governments continued the scheme ?

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13
John Hargreaves Ex M 4:37 pm
20 May 14
#

Affirmative Action Man said :

You can see why most people have contempt for politicians. Johno how about you answer the question that has been put by several posters as to why the Rudd & Gillard Governments continued the scheme ?

Firstly let me apologise for using my personal login “Johno” earlier. I am new to this technology. But to answer your question, let me say that it was dopey then and it is dopey now. The public saw how dopey it was then and said so. I just hope they do so again. And I’m sick of hearing that cos Labor did it, it is ok for the Libs to do it. Rubbish. People voted for the Libs for whatever reason they had not because they would do what Labor proposed. they must own their own mistakes and untruths.

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

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14
justin heywood 5:38 pm
20 May 14
#

Johno said :

…and thanks to the Liberal apologists for outing themselves.

Gee John, I didn’t know you could be ‘outed’ as a Liberal. Perhaps in your narrow world being a liberal equates to being gay or having some terrible disease, but I think you’ll find that there’s more than a few around.*

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

And I’m sick of hearing that cos Labor did it, it is ok for the Libs to do it. Rubbish. People voted for the Libs for whatever reason they had not because they would do what Labor proposed. they must own their own mistakes and untruths.

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

You may be sick of hearing about it John, but it’s a fair question. Where were you when it was Labor policy? The whole post smacks of confected anger and cynical populism. Abbott is on the nose at the moment, and up you pop out of nowhere, suddenly the champion of the separation of powers. I don’t buy it.

*FWIW, I am an extremely lapsed Catholic and dedicated non-believer. I’m no fan of Abbott, but view the alternatives as even worse.

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15
Masquara 5:50 pm
20 May 14
#

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

It isn’t compulsory for children to attend the chaplaincy program, is it?

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